Need to wean your toddler from their beloved pacifier? Enter the pacifier fairy! A magical fairy who takes your toddler’s binky in the middle of the night and replaces it with a new special toy or lovey!
Whether your toddler is struggling with sleep, or you know it’s time to wean the pacifier because of your toddler’s age, cold turkey is usually the best way to drop the pacifier.
But that doesn’t mean that we are just going to take away the pacifier and let your toddler deal with it.
That wouldn’t be fair to him and probably won’t go over very well.
Instead, we are going to use the Pacifier Fairy to get your toddler on board with giving up his beloved pacifier. A visit from the Pacifier Fairy makes giving up the pacifier a celebrated event, instead of a sad one for your toddler!
Think about it. Your toddler has developed an emotional attachment to his pacifier. It has been with him in the night for many months and holds a special place in his heart. It’s hard to say goodbye to something like that!
What is the Best Age to Stop Using a Pacifier?
The easiest time to stop using a pacifier completely is between 5 and 8 months. Babies this young typically have independent sleep skills and don’t have as strong of a need for non-nutritive sucking.
If you’ve continued to use a pacifier past this age (I did too!), the best time to stop using a pacifier is when it starts to interfere with sleep.
Around 11 months, my daughter started throwing her pacifier out of the crib multiple times a night. We didn’t want to get caught in a game of paci ping pong, so we weaned it cold turkey one night.
For toddlers who are still using a pacifier, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends stopping use of the pacifier by age 3.
If your baby is between 2.5 to 4 years, now is a great time to use the Pacifier Fairy to drop the pacifier. This is a gentle approach that keeps your toddler involved and celebrates them growing up and being a big kid!
Keep in mind that some children do experience toddler sleep regressions including a 2-year old sleep regression and 3-year old sleep regression. The best time to wean from the pacifier is when things are already going well with your toddler’s sleep and no major changes have been introduced to their life such as a new sibling or starting preschool.
We will use a lot of the same techniques that we used when we transitioned to a toddler bed, including preparing your toddler and getting them involved in the process!
Keep reading to see a step-by-step process for having the Pacifier Fairy come visit your home!
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How to Use The Pacifier Fairy to Stop Binky Use
Follow these steps to prepare your toddler for their big visit from the Pacifier Fairy and say bye bye binky.
#1 – Prep Them
Toddlers like to know what’s going to happen. A little bit of prep goes a long way with your toddler. This is helpful in other transitions as well.
First, prepare your toddler that he is becoming a big boy and will soon get a visit from the Pacifier Fairy.
Let him know the Pacifier Fairy visits big kids and takes their pacifiers and exchanges it out for a new toy! You can ask him what he thinks the Pacifier Fairy might bring him and use that as a pacifier replacement when the big day comes!
#2 – Read Books about The Pacifier Fairy
Read these books for several nights before your toddler gets a visit from the Pacifier Fairy. It can really help them to understand what’s going to happen.
#3 – Pick A Date
Pick a date on the calendar when the Pacifier Fairy is going to visit. You can make a paper chain countdown with your child or cross out days on the calendar to give him a visual representation of when it’s happening. Get them involved in this process to help give them some control.
#4 – Collect All the Pacifiers with Your Child
When the big day has arrived, go through the house and collect all the pacifiers with your child. Make sure to have them involved in this part so they are able to process what is happening.
We did a similar process when we potty trained and had our daughter collect all her diapers around the house and it was so helpful!
Put all the pacifiers in a box or bag for the Pacifier Fairy to collect. Leave it somewhere in the house that will be easy for her to find.
#5 – The Pacifier Fairy Visits!
When your child is asleep, swap out the pacifiers for a special new toy or stuffed animal. Make it something they’ve been eyeing, so they’re really excited for it.
You can go as big with this as you want. Wrap the present, buy a printable pacifier letter from the Paci Fairy to leave for your child, add balloons to the celebration if you want. Whatever will help encourage and excite your child that the Binky Fairy visited them!
Ultimately, we want this to be a fun and special occasion, instead of a sad one about them losing their pacifier.
#6 – Be Consistent
Your child may ask about their pacifier, but remind them that the Pacifier Fairy took it and brought them the new toy instead. I recommend throwing the pacifiers away completely, so you aren’t tempted to give it back to your toddler if they struggle.
#7 – Use a Sleep Training Technique if Needed
You may need to implement a sleep training method if your child is really struggling to go to sleep with his pacifier. The Sleep Lady Shuffle or Reverse Sleep Wave can be effective methods to use at this age. Your child may struggle for about a week without the pacifier before moving on.
Make sure to stick with your plan and not introduce new sleep props like lying down with them or rubbing their back to sleep. I’d hate for you to swap out one sleep prop for another!
What Does the Binky Fairy Bring?
The Binky Fairy can bring anything!
If your child has been talking about a special toy or stuffed animal, that might be a particularly good present for the Pacifier Fairy to bring when she visits. If you need ideas, talk to your toddler beforehand and ask him what he might want the Binky Fairy to bring.
Think of it like when we ask our kids what they want Santa to bring them for Christmas!
Some favorites include:
Enjoy playing Pacifier Fairy! It can be a lot of fun if you get into it and make it a special event for your child. Remember, if you’re anxious about taking away the pacifier, your child will be too. If you celebrate the Paci Fairy as a fun and magical time, that excitement will rub off on them as well!